Espaces des Mondes Polaires
To hear the sound of an ice berg moving, to touch the polar bear’s fur, to ice skate in the middle of the summer. All less than 1h drive from Geneva in the wonderful Espace des Mondes Polaires.
Let me take you to the one of the most exotic places on Earth. Where everything is white, where only the toughest survive, a place that has been fascinating explorers and scientist for ages. Ladies and gentlemen: the poles!
To get there, you’ll have to conquer the sharp turns on the Jura mountains, and cross the deserted French border. Then, drive through the wilderness and soak in the amazing views, just until you get to Prémanon (Les/Des Rousses region).
You have now reached one of the most gorgeous museums in the region: Espace des Mondes Polaires. A museum devoted to all-things-poles. By devoted, I mean so much devoted, they also built an ice skating rink open all year long.
The museum is very modern-looking inside, very simple-looking, like the poles themselves. Everything is white or made with glass. It’s white and quiet.
When we enter the permanent exhibition, we are surrounded by moving ice bergs and their sounds. Scary for some, fascinating for others.
We go farther, to check out the massive tail of a whale in the distance. A stop on the way to learn about ice bergs first: how they are formed, what they are made of, a true ice bergs 101. There are many videos to watch and games to play all around us – they help us find answers to questions emerging in our heads.
The animals are amazing. The fox, the bear, the penguins, all the whales, orcas, and other dolphins. Their colors perfectly match their environment. It is mind blowing how they can survive this rough environment. We touch their skins to understand it better.
We then move to further to discover the explorers’ trips to the poles. There’s a lot to learn here about Paul-Émile Victor, an explorer from the Jura region, and his fascinating trips. We compare equipment from the past, with the modern one.
Quick look at the massive polar bear, and we enter a separate room with a temporary exhibition. It inspires us to organize a dog-sled ride in winter.
Ice skating, yey!
Now, finally run to the other part of the building – to the true reason of our trip. But first: clothes need to change. Short sleeves and shorts won’t do. It is the time for Sweaters, long trousers, professional winter gear, and compulsory: gloves.
Music on, here we go! Ice skating in the middle of heatwave, wearing warm sweaters and gloves feels so absurd we can’t not laugh. It feels amazing, so fresh, and so good! We practice our moves before the ice skating lessons in Meyrin start again together with the school year.
Our last stop: the gift-shop. A fury diary is just what we needed!
The only thing we didn’t try was the restaurant. It looked and smelled nice though, and it has a view on the rink.
Planning this trip in every season is good. In winter, you’ll have more polar feel with the snow covering the jura. In summer, you’ll get a break from the heat and be silly on the rink. It will be a fun day, anyway!